Packers’ Nick Barnett among best choices at 29th pick
It’s been 14 years since the Green Bay Packers held the 29th overall pick in the NFL draft.
That year, Mike Sherman made one of his finest picks as Green Bay’s general manager and selected linebacker Nick Barnett. During Barnett’s eight seasons in Green Bay, he led the Packers in tackles five times and ranks third in team history with 1,014 total tackles.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson would be doing extremely well to find a player as impactful as Barnett.
Over the last 20 years, Packer Plus gives just five players taken at No. 29 an “elite” grade. Barnett is one of those.
Only three players fall into the “quality starter” category, which means finding a top-end starter at No. 29 will be a tall task for Thompson.
Here’s a look at the hits and misses of the last 20 players selected at No. 29.
Harrison Smith, S, 2012 (Minnesota): A two-time Pro Bowler and one of the top safeties in football. Smith signed a five-year, $51.3 million deal last summer that included $28.6 million in guaranteed money.
Ben Grubbs, G, 2007 (Baltimore): A two-time Pro Bowler who started 125 career games over nine seasons. His career ended prematurely due to a neck injury.
Nick Mangold, C, 2006 (New York Jets): The NFL’s top center over the past decade. Mangold has played in seven Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro twice.
Nick Barnett, LB, 2003 (Green Bay): Had more than 1,000 tackles, 201/2 sacks, 12 interceptions and six forced fumbles during an impressive 11-year career. Barnett spent eight of those seasons in Green Bay, where he led the Packers in tackles five times and was named all-pro in 2007.
Ryan Pickett, DT, 2001 (St. Louis): Had impressive 14-year career that included eight years in Green Bay (2006-’13). Made 185 career starts, played in 207 career games, and was a key figure in the Packers’ run to the Super Bowl XLV title.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, 2009 (New York Giants): Peaked early with 24 touchdowns and 202 catches in his first three NFL seasons. Nicks had just seven touchdowns and 154 receptions in his final four years, though.
Michael Jenkins, WR, 2004 (Atlanta): Jenkins caught 354 passes and 25 touchdowns during a nine-year career.
Marc Colombo, OT, 2002 (Chicago): Struggled during his four years in Chicago, where he made just seven starts. But Colombo salvaged his career with seven solid years in Dallas and Miami, in which he made 88 starts.
Dominique Easley, DT, 2014 (New England): Had just 25 tackles in two seasons with the Patriots, then was released in April 2016. But Easley took a step toward salvaging his career with an impressive 2016 season with the Los Angeles Rams.
Cordarelle Patterson, WR, 2013 (Minnesota): One of the NFL’s elite kickoff returners, but Patterson made little impact as wide receiver. Still, Oakland saw enough to give Patterson a two-year, $8.5 million contract last month.
Gabe Carimi, OT, 2011 (Chicago): Former University of Wisconsin standout lasted just two years in Chicago and four total seasons in the NFL. Also played for Tampa Bay and Atlanta, and was out of football after 2014 season.
Kyle Wilson, CB, 2010 (New York Jets): Made 32 starts and had four interceptions in a six-year career.
Marlin Jackson, CB, 2005 (Indianapolis): A player Green Bay was highly considering at No. 24 before Aaron Rodgers fell into their laps that year. Jackson had a solid five-year career in Indianapolis, but his career was derailed by knee and Achilles injuries.
Kentwan Balmer, DT, 2008 (San Francisco): Made 11 starts and posted 62 tackles in just three NFL seasons. After flaming out in San Francisco and Seattle, Balmer was out of football by 2011.
R. Jay Soward, WR, 2000 (Jacksonville): Was suspended in 2001 for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy and lasted just one season in the NFL. His career totals were 14 catches, 154 yards and one touchdown.
Dimitrius Underwood, DT, 1999 (Minnesota): One of the worst draft picks in NFL history. Underwood walked out of Vikings’ training camp one day after signing a contract and never played a down for Minnesota. Underwood later resurfaced in both Miami and Dallas, but tried committing suicide twice and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
John Avery, RB, 1998 (Miami): Avery lasted just two seasons in the NFL, playing for the Dolphins and Denver. He then spent six more seasons in the XFL and CFL.
Chris Canty, DB, 1997 (New England): Canty played for three teams in four seasons. He finished his brief career with just 12 starts and four interceptions.
TOO SOON TO TELL
Phillip Dorsett, WR, 2015 (Indianapolis): Has just 51 receptions and three touchdowns in his first two seasons with the Colts. Will be expected to take major step in 2017, or could be headed toward “bust” category.
Robert Nkemdiche, DT, 2016 (Arizona): Talented player with checkered past who slipped in the 2016 draft. Nkemdiche then played in just five games and had only one tackle during a disappointing rookie season.